Traveling can be carefree or action filled, it can be budget friendly or lavish, but either way, I believe that domestic and international travel are the best investments you can make in yourself. Getting immersed in a new place can be a culture shock at first, but it forces a person out of their comfort zone, opening the doors for growth.
“Culture and language are some of the most challenging, interesting, and enriching experiences available to individuals and collectives” (Kumpulainen, 2010, p. 131). Through travel, one can learn about an unfamiliar culture, including their language, food, practices, and beliefs, which compels us to see past our tunneled vision of perception.
I believe that life is about constantly growing and learning, and personally, I feel by opening your mind to unfamiliarity you are able to grow in ways unachievable by any other means. I agree with Kumpulainen when she writes: “In today’s world, multicultural awareness, language skills, and cultural knowledge as well as an appreciation of difference are necessary competencies for any democratic and developing society” (2010). Without this knowledge, we are unable to learn from each other creating a society of indistinguishable beliefs. In my opinion, broadening your mind can be one of the most personally beneficial qualities to acquire in life. With the skill to understand and see through the eyes of different cultures, we are able to interact with people more reasonably and unselfishly. Humans are the framework of our existence; a person will only get as far as they do in life with the support, assistance, and interaction of other people.
In a collection of five studies publicized by Jiyin Cao at Northwestern University, researchers “… found a robust relationship between the breadth of foreign travel experiences and generalized trust” (Cao, Galinsky & Maddux, 2013). Breadth in the study was defined as the number of countries traveled. I found these studies very rewarding and important for people to be aware of. Although each study varied slightly, across the board, it was proven that traveling to different countries creates an openness of trust in daily life. With all the terrible news we hear of how people are acting and reacting so negatively, we can conclude that generalized trust was most likely not present. By trusting others, we are able to respect and live harmoniously among our peers.
I also believe that travel can be beneficial in more ways than just to broaden your mind and learn about a culture or place. Some people get so tied up in the day-to-day scheme of things that they lose sight of what really makes them happy. Happiness is, in my opinion, the most essential building block of life, and without true happiness, everything seems dull. By going on a vacation where you are able to relax and kick back, you relieve yourself of daily stressors giving you time to escape and reboot. Action-packed travel can be favorable as well not only for fun but also for health reasons. Trying new things may open your eyes and make you realize you found something you never knew you liked before. Last summer, I visited Costa Rica, and although I am deathly afraid of heights, I decided to zipline 700 feet in the air. This turned out to be one of the best experiences in my life, and if I had not stepped out of my comfort zone, I would have never discovered it.
In conclusion, I believe that both domestic and international travel can be the best investment you will ever make in yourself for multiple reasons. Learning, growing, and opening your mind can help you interact with and trust others more freely. Relaxing vacations can give you well-needed time to clear your mind and rediscover happiness, and lastly, action-packed vacations can be not only beneficial for fun but also for your health.
Cao, J., Galinsky, A., & Maddux, W. (June 2014). Does Travel Broaden the Mind?
Breadth of Foreign Experiences Increases Generalized Trust. Social Psychological and Personality Science. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/274063991_Does_Travel_Broaden_the_Mind_Breadth_of_Foreign_Experiences_Increases_Generalized_Trust
Kumpulainen, K., Snee, H. (2010). Does Travel Broaden the Mind? A critical review of learning through the gap year. Travel and Lifelong Learning, 3, 131-157. Retrieved from https://www.elmmagazine.eu/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/3_2010.pdf